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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  January 3, 2012 8:00am-9:00am EST

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booktv, 48 hours of book programming beginning saturday morning at 8 eastern through monday morning at 8 ian. eastern. nonfiction books all weekend, every weekend right here on c-span2. >> this morning on c-span the national task force on children's exposure to violence. we'll hear from attorney general eric holder. and then a look at how the problem effects society and local communities. after that a discussion on what a weak economy and high unemployment mean for children's exposure to violence. a little bit later, the importance of mentoring kids and the impact of prosecuting children as adults. [applause] >> the justice department reports that 60% of american children have been exposed to crime, abuse and violence. the attorney general's national task force on children's exposure to violence began gathering evidence and hearing testimony in november. here's one of the sessions from
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baltimore. first, we'll hear from attorney general everything holder. >> well, good morning to you al and thanks so much for coming and thank you, dean, for those kind words. we have been friends for a number of years, and she could have said other things about mel but i want to thank you for allf that you andha your staff have o done to help bring together this really extraordinary group of leaders, experts and advocates. university of maryland francis king carey law school for providing a forum for this critical discussion. thank you for your participation and for your commitment to protecting and in powering the most precious and vulnerable, our children, the american children. i want you to understand that this work is a priority. we have a whole bunch of things on our plate, but this is a priority.
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i am grateful to my colleagues in the office of violence against women and the office for their leadership in developing the the most effective efforts including the new defending childhood initiative. today as the 30 members of this task force to gather for the first time, we're launching a new chapter in the work to protect our young people from violence and from harm and insuring that in this country, every child has a safe place to live, to learn, and to grow. this task force is comprised on experts on the issues surrounding children exposed to violence. they represent the legal, medical, research, law- enforcement, and survivor communities.
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they all share a common passion to the mission that brings us together today. on behalf of the department of justice and the entire administration, i want to thank each of our task force members. thank you for devoting your time and expertise to this important work. i want to thank everybody here for supporting their efforts and for those who will come to share their personal stories with us. we look forward to hearing from you and from learning from you. my good friends, thank you as well for joining us and all that you've done to strengthen the department's groundbreaking child initiatives.
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the work you are leading in each of your offices to better address the threat their children are facing in d.c., maryland, and the surrounding areas, cases that rod and ron have advanced and the communities that they have helped to reform, remind us that the often difficult work of improving circumstances for young people at risk, solutions are possible. change is possible. progress is possible. the changes that we hope for are possible. they are only possible if we are willing to act collaborative way and if we enlist the help of a variety of partners. that is what this task force is all about, bringing together a wealth of experience and talent to focus on one of the greatest public safety epidemics of our time, a children's exposure to
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violence. protecting the health and safety of our children has been a personal and professional concern for decades. for me, it has been decades. this is a young-looking crowd. as the deputy attorney general, addressing the causes and remedying the consequences of children's exposure to violence was a prominent part of my daily work. i'm the parent of three teenagers and it remains a top priority. we must confront this problem had on my understanding what we and our children are up against. i served as deputy attorney general and have the opportunity to work with leading researchers to take a look at the problem of children's exposure to violence.
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we learned that whether a child was a witness or a direct victim of violence, the experience was associated with psychological and emotional harm, as well as it higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse later in life. children exposed to violence fail in school or often and are much more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, and other disorders. children exposed to violence are more likely to develop chronic diseases and to have trouble forming emotional attachments. they are more likely to go on to commit violent crimes. although our understanding of the nature of the problem has increased in the 1990's, we did not know how prevalent it was. we did not have comprehensive data that could give us the
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full story about where violence touches children and we did not have the research to tell us about the cumulative effect of the exposure to violence. now we do. we must act. during my first year as attorney general, findings, national survey of children exposed to violence. the most comprehensive survey on violence, crime, and abuse in children's lives. the majority of our kids, more than 60%, have been exposed to violence, crime, and abuse. these patterns of violence can take many forms, pushing, hitting, to witnessing or experiencing a gun, knife, or sexual violence.
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they are not limited to any one community or to any one demographic group. exposure can happen at home, in the street, at school, or on the internet, where children face unprecedented threats. children are more likely to be exposed to violence than to adults. children are likely to be exposed to violence than adults. this problem has significant consequences for individuals, families, and for entire communities. it affects each one of us and we'll have a role to play to address this. we cannot ignore the needs of our children. as a side of fails to make protecting children a toppers party goes against the fundamental responsibilities. that is why failure is not an option.
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because of the work of leaders, it is not even a probability. despite the challenges that we face, i think we have good cause for optimism. we note it is possible and within our power to help kids who need us the most. quality intervention programs can foster healthy child development and can counter the negative effects of violence. early interventions which children can help them avoid a repeat victimization and future involvement with the criminal justice system. we have made an historic commitment to apply this knowledge. i'm proud that we are now directing resources for the express purpose of reducing
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children's exposure to violence, raising awareness of its ramifications and advancing scientific inquiries on its causes and characteristics. committee-based policing and victims of crime are engaged in coordinating the department's effort to prevent children's exposure to violence. we're building on existing partnerships with the departments of education and health and human services as well as with our law enforcement partners in the field. we have embraced the reality that the government has a responsibility to act. they cannot be successful without community leaders, police officers, coaches, teachers, principals, and parents. that working to make sure professionals that work with children are trained to identify those who have been
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exposed to violence. to be effective and to make the progress that our children need and that our children deserve, we need the full attention of the federal government and of state, tribal, local community, nonprofit, and private sector partners. we have to do this in partnership with all of those groups. we need to prevent the violence against our young people. we must go on the expertise of policymakers and attorneys, but also with young people themselves. if we listened to them, they can make a difference in strengthening the work that we're committed to doing. we need more information about current approaches. we need to know what works and we need to know what does not
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work so that policymakers can make informed decisions about how to tailor solutions to meet the needs of individual communities. this task force represents a powerful and promising step forward. i'm counting on the 13 members to study this problem and to provide guidance to the department and to the public on how we can improve our response to this issue and implement the solution that we need. this task force can help to inspire extraordinary progress. the task force on victims of crime led to the creation of the office for victims of crime and prompted a sea change in how the criminal justice system treats victims and pave the way for them to become partners and to help them attain the rights that they deserve.
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the task force recommended legislation to provide funding to assist state crime victims compensation programs and their work helped to advance passes of the victims of crime act of 1984. the task force helped to raise awareness of domestic violence. among the recommendations -- recognizing this as criminal activity and the need to develop multi disciplinary committee response to domestic violence became the core principles of the violence against women act of 1994. i'm confident that the members will strengthen the work that is under way to raise awareness of the issue of children exposed to violence and there will play an important role to this national epidemic.
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this task force will hold four field hearings across the country to learn firsthand how violence is affecting our nation's children. by december 1 of next year, they will present me with a report documenting their findings that they can take to improve the current system of care for all of our children. by hearing from experts and practitioners, members will be uniquely positioned to add to our knowledge about how we can better safeguard our children across the in target of the united states. by showing us what works and mitigating its effects, i have every expectation that this effort will help us to better protect our children. there a difference will come from the work that some many of you do in your neighborhoods and in your communities when you respond to a domestic violence call and when you work to remove a child from an abusive setting, when you
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council a student who was been bullied, or when you recognize a lifetime of drama, you've become a part of the solution. i believe that together we can transform america for the better one child at a time. i'm not pleased to give the defending childhood task force its charge. the members of the defending child the task force will conduct four hearings nationwide, to learn from survivors, policymakers, academics, and the public to the extent of children's exposure to violence in the united states. the members will seek information about prevention strategies that desert increased attention from the department of justice and from states and local and tribal governments. the defending child the task
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force will develop a final report to me presenting policy recommendations which will serve as a blueprint for preventing and addressing children's exposure to violence, and for mitigating the effects experienced by children exposed to violence across the united states. i want to thank you all once again for your service and for your willingness to accept what is a critical responsibility, as you work to fill out your duties, i encourage you to think creatively and broadly and to consider what can be accomplished with cooperation and commitment to the young people that need us most and are dependent on us to act. to keep my privilege to introduce the cochairs and to turn the meeting over to them.
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joe torre is the chairman of a foundation whose mission is to develop programs that will end the cycle of domestic violence and to save lives. the foundation has educated thousands of students, parents, teachers, and school faculty about the devastating effects of domestic violence. it currently reaches kids in nine schools and two community centers, markets place -- margaret's place provides a safe room where people can talk to each other. since february of 2011, mr. torre has been the executive vice president for baseball operations. he was a major league manager for 29 seasons, 12 of them for the new york yankees, whom he led to the playoffs every year including four world series championships.
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the glory days. he compiled a .297 batting average, 252 home runs. he hit over .300 five times in his career. he was once the national league mvp. can you spell "cooperstown"? the chief of the juvenile unit since 1997. he serves on several boards that advocate for the rights and
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the interests of children. these include the minority context subcommittee of the pants of a commission of crime and delinquency. he is a member of the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention committee of pccd, which advises the governor on juvenile justice policy. he serves on the juvenile offender center and has persist dated -- participated and maybe the hardest working man in show business. he's a team leader.
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it was established in 2006. >> robert received his ba from harvard university and his jd from the school of law at the university of california in berkeley. so, joe and robert, i want to thank you both once again. i wish you all a very productive day, and i look forward to hearing about and continuing this critical discussion. the work that you have is vitally important. we're all looking forward to the work and the conclusions that you will reach and the fate of our children is in our hands. so thank you all for the great work that i'm sure that you will do. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mr. attorney general. that was, i was a pretty good player, i guess, huh? [laughter]s. i forgot all about that stuff.
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before robert and i make some remarks, we'd like to have our task force introduce themselves. steven marans, would you,e st please, start? >> morning. my name is steven marans, i'm professor of psychiatry at the university school of medicine where i direct the national center for children exposed to violence, a center that was established by then-deputy attorney general eric holder in the clinton white house as well as the director of the childhood violent trauma center.ave we've learned a great deal over the last decades about the impact of children exposed to violence. we know a good deal about the risks and protective factors and know that early identification and social support are the best ways of interrupting the cycle of outcomes that attorney general holder was referencing earlier.e and it was this kind of knowledge that led to a unique partnership that was developed
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at, in new haven and then proliferated beyond new haven around the country, a partnership between law enforcement, mental health professionals. unlikely partners, um, that led to a better way of identifying kids and offering the help and support they needed. it also led to a new grief and family strengthening intervention that decreases the post traumatic stress symptoms and disorders in children by 73% when we're able to identify and treat families. whe the problems of children exposei to violences. are great, and the cost to children, family and, indeed, to our entire countryso are enormous, but so are the opportunities. just one example of many possible ways of collaborating whether in emergency rooms, social service agencies,, schools, courts, neighborhoods and most important, in the homes of the children who are most
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affected.e it's with great gratitude that i am serving on this task force, but it's especially with great gratitude to the department of justice and, yes, to attorney general holder who has been a leader, um, over the last gre decades in helping us develop plans, comprehensive plans and a way of moving forward for the country. thank you. >> good morning, my name is theo james, i'm an emergency medicine physician in boston medical center, this is a hospital that treats the majority of youth who are injured by violent crimes. um, i am the director of a violence intervention advocacy program there from the, thatenti works out of the emergency department, and, um, we providee comprehensive care and support to youth who are our patients and are injured by violent
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crimes.ho we provide primarily housing,we education, mental health, legal support, job readiness training, life skills training.aini and the goal of our intervention is to support and to guide themr through recovery with the hopes that, um, they will be able to reenter society as productive citizens and to become mentors c themselves. in doing this work which is primarily downstream, um, it has given us a window into the various different things that happen to these kids. and so we know that it requires more than just downstream work. you absolutely have to do what we call a 360-degree intervention and work upstream. we know that when the victim you're hooking at is injury -- you're looking at is injured, they are not the only victim. i everyone who is in proximity to them is injured and primarily the children in their pro communities and in their families. so the work of this task force
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seems quite appropriate to address that particular issue. it's, um, quite a privilege and an honor to be a part of this task force, and i look forward to, um, what we will be able to do to work upstream and to address this issue. >> morning. my name is jim mcdonald, i'm the chief of the long beach, california, police department. i'm in my 31st year in policinge i spent 29 years with the los angeles police department prior to going to longpo beach. it's certainly an honor for me to be able to sit on this panel ande be able to serve and be an to bring a police perspective to this issue.ve. my hope is we'll be able to come away with an honest, straight fard approach to children's exposure to violence. it's a cycle we've all seen that goes generation to generation. we're not able to address thatgs in silos, even with the best of intentions as so often we've tried to do. this task force brings a
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multidisciplinary examination to the issue, and we have the opportunity to be able to heare witnesses from throughout thebu nation and hear different ways of dealing with it, differentg issues, maybe some best practices that haven't beent spread throughout the country, and i'm hopeful that we'll be able to come away with a product at the end of the day that we can present to the attorney general that will become a blueprint for dealing with thise issue, that will be valuable and, hopefully, a great resource for those that dedicate their lives to making the role and the lives of children better. thank you, mr. attorney general, for bringing your attention tobe this very, very important topic. thank you. >> good morning.this my name is greg boyle, i'm the executive director and founder of home boy industries in los angeles, it's the largest gang intervention rehab program in the country. about 15,000 folks walk through our doors every year. there are 1100 gangs in l.a.
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county and 86,000 gang membersgs or thereabouts. we run seven businesses where rival enemy gang members work side by side with each other, about 10,000 laser tattoo removal treatments are offered every year along with mental health, case management training, anger management, parenting, domestic violence counseling and the like. gang violence, of course, is about a lethal absence of hope, so home boy industries wants to offer a palpable sense of community in the hope that that will trump gang. and so we're sort of an exit ramp off this crazy freeway of gang involvement, and unless we have a way for folks to kind ofn redirect their lives, it becomes futile. everybody who walks through thea doors at home boy industries, obviously, has been impacted by violence in their history and in
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their childhood, and the hope is to invite them to be able to transform their pain so that they can cease to transmit it. and so we have to offer hope to kids especially in the inner city, kids who plan their funerals and not their futures. and so my hope for this committee is that we will have e high degree of reverence for how complex this issue is, and then we're more likely, i think, to embrace solutions that can meet it, and i feel greatly privileged to be a part of this. >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> rather somber out there. [laughter] i don't see any coffee cups rattling in the courtroom. my name is tony taguba, i'm a retired army soldier, and i had the privilege of working through a lot of similar programs that we have in the civilian. community, most importantly on domestic violence policy, the
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development of those policy into rules that led to legislation. i was also involved in family add slow cat is si programs and also development with child and youth services to our community. so, hopefully, i'll be able to contribute a little bit of my experience to the work of the task force, and i want to thank the attorney general for appointing me to the task force. thanks very much. >> good morning. my name is dr. sharon cooper, i'm a developmental and forensic pediatrician from north carolina. i was compel today the center for missing and exploitedarat children where i've worked for the last 14 years in helping us all to understand violence in cyberspace. in addition, i am the chairperson of our or child homicide and identification and prevention task force in the county in north carolina that has the highest child homicide rate in the state of north carolina. and so i'm very honor today participate in this opportunity, and i'm very eager to be able to bring to the table, hopefully, the words of children who havehe been victims from this o
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perspective. and i would like to thank attorney general holder for this opportunity. thank you. >> good morning. i'm delawarean tilton durfee, and i'm executive director of the los angeles county interagency coup sill on child i abuse and neglect. chair the national center on review, and i was the final and past chair of the united states advisory board on child abuse and neglect. i've been in the field of child abuse for about four decades the starting as a social worker and then an administrator. when i joined ican, it became clear that one agency cannot solve this problem and as we started with nine agencies, we a grew to 32, and each of those agencies actively participates in the work that we do in our 20 task forces and committees. and we have two big conferences, one that the attorney general has spoken at called nexus, theh
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effects of violence in the homeo on children. and a new one on the traumatic grief and loss of children. so these issues are extremely important to me. only thinking about that toddler and that baby listening to parents scream and yell at each other and then the father shoots the mother, and then somebody comes out to rescue the baby not because they heard it cry, but because they heard the gunshot, and then the baby starts a cycl of foster care maybe 30, 40 different homes. and then at the end we're trying to deal with what father greg40 boyle is dealing with. and so thank you so much, attorney general eric holder. i know how many years you have been focused on this issue and dedicated to it, and it is so unique and so incrediblyit important to the children of this country. thank you. t >> good morning. i'm robert macy. k you to all of you for giving a day in your lives to bo here. thank you, attorney general, for convening this and supporting this. i'm with a section of disasterth
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medicine, harvard medical school, and the division ofcine disaster resilience. i also founded and codirect the international center for disaster resilience which has over the last 15 years worked te with 720,000 war-exposed and violence-exposed children in 17 countries and 12 states. what we are -- i'm a clinical psychologist and a practicing researcher. what we've found bothycho experiencially in the field and from our research is that there are excellent, excellent opportunity for us to prevent violence without suppressing it, to create interventions that actually allow children to moveo out of the cycle of violence. um, that's the good news.gh the challenging news which i think the attorney general said we will prevail is that we are going to have to tackle structural racism, transgenerational impoverishment and, in my view as a researcherh transgenerational enslavement.
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i think we can do that and, again, i appreciate the opportunity to be part of this. panel. >> good morning.ortu my name is georgina mendoza, ano i am the senior city deputy attorney for the city of salinas, california, about twonr hours south of san francisco. one of the main things that we are working on is preventing and reducing gang and youth violence in our city. our city is mostly latino, and our gangs are the northerners and southerners. and one of the ways that we are looking to reduce and prevent our gang and youth violence is through a coordinated and comprehensive approach. specifically, we believe thated prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry are absolutely critical to work simultaneously if we're going tl have a significant and longmult lasting impact. i am also the designated site leader for the california cities gang prevention network as well as the national forum on youth violence prevention which is a white house initiativement um, i
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am -- initiative. i am deeply honored to be part of this task force, and i want to thank attorney general holder and all of you for being here. u i look forward to learning more, to hearing strategies and lea recommendations that have proven to be successful and that can br useed toov work as a model, perhaps, for the rest of the nation, state and local levels. once again, thank you very much. >> good morning. thank you very much for this opportunity. my name is sarah deer, and i am an assistant professor of law a williamam mitchell college of lw in st. paul, minnesota. pro i'm also a citizen of the muscogee creek nation, and most of my work has looked at the intersection of tribal issuesn and victim issues. i'm particularly interested in domestic violence and children exposed to domestic violence.d thein intersection of domestic violence and child abuse. but more specifically, the concern that indian reservations have the highest rate of crime, of violent crime in the united states. um, so i'm looking to, um,
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consider both rural and tribal issues as the task force moves forward. and i am deeply grateful for the opportunity and for the chance to work with the department on this issue. and i'm particularly grateful to the survivors of violence who will be speaking to us over the next year, and i hope that youvo know thatrs your words are as vital as any academic or any, any physician. we need to hear from you. so thank you very much. >> um, thank you again, attorney general holder, for your focus on the epidemic of children's exposure to violence. it is an honor to serve on your national task force on children exposed to violence. as you noted, childhood victimization can have long-lasting effects, one ofim whichiz is higher risk of juvene delinquency and adult criminal behavior. we are living in an era in which
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homicide is the leading cause oe death for african-american youth and the second leading cause of death for all youth. entire communities are engulfed with violence. in detroit, for example, which is 20 miles from my hometown, there were more homicides between 2003 and 2010 than ther0 were u.s. troops killed in afghanistan in the same time period. more deaths by homicide in one american city than u.s. casualties in a war zone. baltimore children are eight times as likely to die from homicide as kids nationwide. boys and girls in the juvenileya justice system often have experience violence and victimization before they get into the system, and they mayvi continue to experience violence while they are in the system compounding the effects. the juvenile justice system is a critical point in the school-to-prison pipeline, one
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that we can use as an opportunity to intervene and to provide he habilitatived interventions that encourage healing for children who are repeating the very same cycle of violence that they observed in their homes, in the schools and in the communities. the federal advisory committee on juvenile justice has recommended diversion programs as a major policy alternative. the mcarthur foundation will soon complete and publish its manual on diversion policy. we have to look for opportunities to identify youth who are experiencing or witnessing violation. and provide them, as dr. marans noted, and their families with the kinds of resources and support that will help them.kind i'm honored again to be co-chair of this task force and part of the extraordinary effort itai represents. we recognize that our goal is to identify ways to prevent children's exposure to violence and reduce its negative effectso as a group we look forward to hearing today from those impacted by violence and from
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experts in the field as a first step in identifying solutions. >> thank you, robert. good morning. when i started -- when we started our foundation, i remember getting people to be interested in what we were, what we were doing i talked about domestic violence. they kept saying, oh, it's a woman's issue. it's a woman's issue. attorney general holder, i want to thank you for keeping the issue of addressing children'sth exposure to violence as a top priority. it's so important. every year many children are affected by some form ofecte violence. over three million of themolen experience it in their own homes. there's no worse emotion than fear. me personally, i was never physically abused, but the fear that my dad brought to my house in abusing my mom was very personal, very real.
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being the youngest of five children, my older siblingse tried to keep it from me, and thereng was a lot of whispering going on because there was a bir gap between my age and my next oldest. and it was the whispering that went on that i felt that i had done something wrong, and it was just a weird feeling. i mean, i did witness my dad -- because he was a police officer -- you know, threatening my mom with a gun. as i say, hi never physically -- he never physically abused me, but i saw the results of what he did to my mom. i used to come home afterol i school, if his car was in front of the house, i would go to a te friend's house until he left foi work. i was embarrassed to share my feelings because i thought that i was the only one in the neighborhood or the only one anywhere that had this going on in their home. in fact, when we started ours go foundation, i had friends that i grew up with that knew nothingnn
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about it and were very surprisei about the revelation once i started talking about it. kids need to know that violence isn't a secret that they have to keep. we have to speak up for them ane help them speak up for themselves. we know that witnessing violence between one's parents ornce caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violence behavior from one generation to the next. we know some kids get through these situations without continuing the cycle, and some kids can find an escape, but others do not. and we need to help them find at way through this. i was very fortunate. i had the ability to play baseball. so i had place to hide.ve t i had a place that made me feel good about myself. pla but believe it or not, i mean, i carried this into my, my adult i life, and i really didn't
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discover about connecting theano dots with my fears and, excuse me, and my lack of self-esteem. i didn't really face that or get that understanding until probably 1995. and at that point in time ipr realized that i needed to talk about this issue, some things that i certainly have kept a secret my whole life even, you know, from my wife.inly so i was lucky.e i had that ability to escape. the children are our treasure. they are, i mean, they're our leaders of the future, these youngsters need to be tended to and be helped. and as a society whatever it is we can do to reach the kids who are live anything fear and make -- living in fear and make their lives safe, it's our obligation to do that, to let each child have a safe place, a safe home to go to. that is what spells success. and i can't tell you how, you know, privileged i am to serve
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on this task force. thi i feel especially someone who's in public life and have phone calls returned when you leave a message that it's ourtu responsibility to really address this issue because it's so vitally important.ad for us to do. and, again, i want to thank attorney general holder for that. we are, i'm going to introduce our first panel which is called voices. experiencing children's exposure to violence., the young people who experience and witness violence are at particular risk for lasting physical, mental and emotional harm but also have the capacity for healing and transformation. in this panel we will hear from members of the greater baltimore community who have endured and survived various forms of childhood exposure to violence; sexual abuse, domestic violence
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and community violence. we are honored that they have chosen to share their personalwe stories with us to illuminate the cost of cev for children in communities as well as the sign posts for resiliency. i would like to introduce our panelists right now. earl el-amin is a resident imam of muslim community cultural center of baltimore. as a community elder, el-amin will speak about the rise in community violence in baltimore over the course of his lifetimeo with a special emphasis on the change in the economic landscape that gave rise to high rates of male unemployment and the related rise of inter-community violence. he will describe coming of age rituals his organization offers young people who are exposed to violence in hise community. exp next would be ms. rose almond.
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she's a survivor of domestic violence. she will speak about recentlydoe prosecuting her husband for domestic violence against both her and her children when heroln children sought to protect her. ms. jacquelynn kuhn. she was sexually abused as a child and as an adult found herself in an abusive intimate relationship.nd she will speak about how she is healing from these patterns in her own life through educating others about detecting and preventing child sexual abuse. earl el-amin. >> good morning. co-chairs, task force members, as was said, i'm imam earlli el-amin, a lifetime resident here in baltimore city. i guess for over the last 30, 2t
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years aye served in various capacities of leadership in the muslim community, but also in the community at large. i've participated in variouscipa historic meetings with pope john paul and also helped to facilitate the first historic dialogue between imams and rabbis in north america in new york city three years ago. i also serve as vice president for the national center of institutions and alternatives which started in 1977. i've been on and off with them for the last 20 years maybe. um, and it has been involved in the juvenile and the criminal justice system. inv we employ 650 people, 30 which are ex- 30% which are ex ex-offenders. i'm a two-way talk show host on morgan state university. i worked at the baltimore urban league as the director of family and children services running a
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youth diversion program that was very, very successful. and, um, was the independent juvenile justice monitor in the glenn denning administration here in the state of maryland. my father used to say, he said before you speak, son, qualify yourself. so i guess i'm a little nervous, but i'm not. i probably served as the leadoff hitter on my college team, so i was always batting first, mr. torre, and was a good center fielder too. [laughter] >> i bet you were good -- >> i got to lakeland, florida. but i will begin my testimony with a very simple but, i think, profound statement. what youti see is not what youmt get. what you see is what gets you. our youth's inability to fight off the persistent images and acts of violence be they physical, sexual, gang-related, school-based and/ord community-centered is a
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paramount to many be of the problems we see in this society. even though those who are not perpetrators or direct victims of violence still experience this daily. is the ubiquitous, reaching every facet of society, permeating our communities ande. schools, persistently displayed through media and television and overtly esteemed in sports.ed for example, in both football and basketball the greater aggression and violence leads to a higher or greater applause. the harder you hit a person or make a tackle in football, the more applause you get on that play. similarly, the most revered play in basketball is the slam dunk and, of course, the harder the dunk or the more violent the dunk, the better the dunk is considered. it is a conflicting message for our young people, and most can't make sense of it. i happened to look at a
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yesterday the xbox and what they're promoting, and i don't know if i could watch that stuff for 25 minutes and not be affected by it. so it permeates our society. but here in baltimore city, um, growing up here, being raised here the loss of jobs and the breakdown of community, influxs of drugs and the lack of fathers in the home also drive many issues related to community violence here in baltimore. even though the city has produced many great minds fromae u. b. blake to thu good marshall, cab callaway, benjamin carson and i could go on and on, some that i've grown up with in my 60 years on this planet.ave this city is very much a blue collar city and historically education has not been premium for a large portion of the african-american community. you see, there was a time when
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you didn't have to get a high school diploma here. you could earn good money working in the steel mills here, bethlehem steel, coppers, general electric, western electric, um, etc. those places, defense industry. so men that migrated from the south, from virginia, north carolina, south carolina looking for a better life wanting to establish their families worked as laborers. unskilled laborers in the steel mills and also in the shipyards. this allowed men to present positive fixtures and role models within the homes in their communities. when we study the migratory patterns here in baltimore, you could come from kingston, north carolina, reside in the 1200stud block of eager street, and all of those folks that came fromfok kingston, north carolina, resided in the 1200 block of
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eager street. theyhe were related, and they weren't related. but they married into one another's families. and so they established strong, profound sense of pride and community. well, the ensuing decline in the defense industry and the steel industry going to japan, um, changed this. now the largest employer in baltimore metropolitan area is the johns hopkins health care.st so the paradigm has shifted from men to women. although, you know, life wasn't perfect in these neighborhoods and totally free of violence during the era described i'm talking about, most of the city's commitments were functional. the migrants from similarhe regions of the south worked, married, formed families. this happened not only in baltimore, washington, philadelphia, new york, hartford, all up and down the east coast, in your major cities throughout the united states of america. but there was an
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interconnectedness between the people. you know, the change in baltimore, you know, after the riots there was a change, urban flight took place. many of these east and west baltimore families went out of the city. the closure of the steel mills, as i said, and the drug trade, influx of drugs and neighborhoo- violence with young boys. the rockefeller law which allowed, which now adults were no longer involved in the drug trade, so they handed it off to the young children who couldn't cope with it, and the drug trade we saw became very, very violent. this idea of making quick money in a society that preaches immediate gratification, you know? instant coffee, instant potatoes, pop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is, all ofy those speak to the psyche of a young child as well as the adults here in this society. so this dream has played out
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with these young children. now we see a city, and i think it was portrayed, and many of you watched the series of "the wire," and it was portrayed in "the wire" in many instances, a city that has been dismantled by the drug trade.the now, i want to get to this because, you know, you have the have the rise of the gangs, but all of this is a result of what we call in our organization the adc, the absenf daddy club. and this absent daddy club is now what you see gangs and what you see this whole violence. if you don't see a man, you can't be a man. in order to be a man, you have to see a man because, as i said, what you see is not what you get; what you see gets you. and that can be on the negative but also can be on the positive. so this city now, a group of people have gotten together. we have formed coalitions, be they religious coalitions, interfaith coalitions, but also community-based coalitions, and
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many years ago in 1987-'88 we established the rights of passage programs for young boys and girls. so we exposed children to different environments. we believe if you expose, you can inspire. so children are exposed outside of these violent environments in which they are in. the, these young people are young people. they're easily, they're impressed upon a lot of things. right now we hope and pray that can establish an environment that is peace for these children, that is a peaceful environment. we have to know what piece is for ourselves before we can show children. a lot of this is a lot of angere that we see. so with this rites of passage, bringing the young boys and girls from boyhood to manhood, from girlhood to womanhood, these programs are ce signed to -- designed to evolve them so they can make a positive
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contribution. there are many, many organizations out there in the baltimore city metropolitan area that are doing great work. it's not feasible, we're not going to get a pat on the back. we're doing this because we're supposed to do this. we have put billboards, we have put on the back of cars, on bumper stickers, and it's just one saying. and the saying is, "our community, our responsibility." we also believe that words make people, and when people, when people receive that, they understand that it's our rec community, it's our responsibility.d th so i close with this, i'd like to say that we have a tough job ahead, but as mr. holder stated, it's not insurmountable.ntab what -- this is -- you don't know how strong you are until k you go up against something thar is strong. and so we believe that we can overcome this because truth always prevails over falsehood. thank you very much, and may god bless us in our endeavors. >> thank you very much.
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ms. almond? >> hi. my name is rosa almond. i moved here from, to maryland from new jersey about four and a half years ago because my husband's job. i have two beautiful children, freddie who's 10 and brianna who's 9. um, when i first met my husband, he swept me off my feet. he was charming, loving, generous, and he was a total gentleman. i felt very protected. we had a beautiful wedding in the beginning, -- we had a beautiful wedding and a great marriage in the beginning. things started changing as timei went on. um, i started to realize he had a huge anger problem. he would punch doors and throw objects when he was mad. after our son was born, his. anger increased. um, while i was in the hospital after my c-section, fred wasaf going back and forth to the
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hospital, um, and on one of his trips a kid ran into the back of his car, and he got out of his car, and he punched the kid inhe the face, and there was af th witness. um, and the kid pressed charges, and fred got off because, you know, we had a friend or a family member who was a lawyer. that really scared me because when he came to the hospital to tell me, i got scared. i told him that i needed him, and i was scared that he would go to jail or something for punching this kid in the face. um, he called me a bitch so much that my 1-year-old son learned to call me a bitch, and he called me a bitch often. um, shortly after my son was born i found out that -- i knew he was married before, and it was only for five months, but i found out that he also assaulted his ex-wife. i found a warrant for his arrest. that i didn't know about until
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then. um, on december 2005 fred was on his christmas break from work. we got into an argument, and hew came after me, and he grabbed mt neck. c um, i leftam the house with my o children for four days and went down to my sister's house, um,nd that w was 45 minutes away. i wouldn't come home until fred, um, made an appointment to see an anger management, um, doctor. he kept calling me and calling me and apologizing, begging me to come home, and i wouldn't until he did that.to c he did go to a few sessions, but that did not help. he would stand over me when he was angry many times with a fist and just stand over me. um, he was, he's much bigger than me, so it really scared meb in 2009 things were not getting better with fred and i.d marriage counseling didn't help. i told him i wanted a divorce. he told me he would kill me and
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put a knife in my head. he called me a fat whore, an ugly bitch, a cunt and many other horrible names. a couple of days later i got a protective order. in november we decided to wake things out for the sake of our children, and i dropped the protective order. he became abusive towards the children. february 2010 brianna heard my son freddie when they were fighting. fred grew angry and drug her by the hair across the house that resulted in a bald spot. he apologized to her, but i know my daughter will be scarred for life because of this. i was afraid to contact the police because i thought he would get in trouble. he often slammed my son on the t couch also when he got angry. the final straw was on may 10th, ems, may 12th, 2011, um, fred got angry because i was trying h to leave the house with the
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kids.ryin he took my laptop from my arms slammed it on the floor. i tried to call 911 with my cell phone, but he snatched phone away from me. my son handed me the house phone. fred threw me on the ground by my hair and started punching and hitting me. my kids witnessed this horrible abuse. they were screaming and crying.u i never thought he would do this in front of my kids. if kids hadn't been there, heth probably would have killed me. he lost total control. each day i pray for fred to get the help that he needs to control his anger problem. i never want him to hurt my kids again. my husband is not the man he pretended to be. one of my old coworkers that wam good friends with him back in new jersey warned me that it was all a facade. um, he had everybody fooled including both of our families. his father told me he played football in high school to

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